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A New Replication Crisis: Research that is Less Likely to be True is Cited More

UC San Diego
the University of California San Diego’s
Rady School of Management
Science Advances
the Rady School
UC San Diego’s

Dilok Klaisataporn
Marta Serra-Garcia
Uri Gneezy
Andrew Wakefield
Christine Clark
Gilman Dr.


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The New York Times
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Findings from studies that cannot be verified when the experiments are repeated are cited 153 times more because the research is interesting, according to a new UC San Diego paper.Papers in leading psychology, economic and science journals that fail to replicate and therefore are less likely to be true are often the most cited papers in academic research, according to a new study by the University of California San Diego’s Rady School of Management. When the results are more “interesting,” they apply lower standards regarding their reproducibility.The link between interesting findings and nonreplicable research also can explain why it is cited at a much higher rate—the authors found that papers that successfully replicate are cited 153 times less than those that failed. In economics, 61 percent of the 18 studies replicated as did 62 percent of the 21 studies published in Nature/Science.With the findings from these three replication projects, the authors used Google Scholar to test whether papers that failed to replicate are cited significantly more often than those that were successfully replicated, both before and after the replication projects were published.

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